Bill, the Galactic Hero on the Planet of Bottled Brains


Bill, the Galactic Hero on the Planet of Bottled Brains (BtGH:PoBB) is a novel by Harry Harrison and Robert Sheckley, published in 1990.[a]


PoBB is one of the novels[b] in the Bill the Galactic Hero series, and the first[c] which was not authored solely by Harrison. After Sheckley's initial collaboration with Harrison in 1990, the following year four additional novels in the series were released, all with Harrison as co-author, most with the same Bill, the Galactic Hero on the Planet of... titles, but involving differing collaborators: Tasteless Pleasure with David Bischoff, Zombie Vampires with Jack C. Haldeman, Ten Thousand Bars with Bischoff again, and finally Bill the Galactic Hero: The Final Incoherent Adventure with David Harris. As in 1964 when Harrison had originally introduced the character of Bill in the short story The Starsloggers, thirty years later Harrison wrote a post-novelization short story entitled Bill, the Galactic Hero's Happy Holiday which was in Harrison's Galactic Dreams collection of 1994.

English editions were released in 1990 hardback,[d] 1990 paperback,[e] 1991 Gollancz,[f] 1991 VGSF,[g] 1995/1999,[h] and 2004,[i] as well as an ebook in 2012,[j] and an MP3 audiobook in 2016.[k] The novel was translated into Spanish by Diana Falcon for Grijalbo, German[l] by Hilde Linnert for Heyne, Finnish[m] by Arvi Tamminen for Like Kustannus Oy Ltd, Czech[n] by Jarmila Vergrichtova for Classic And, and Russian by an unspecified translator for the Eksmo imprint.[o]


PoBB is about the continued adventures of the protagonist Bill, in extraterrestrial universe involving faster-than-light space travel.


A review by David Langford was largely negative, noting that many of Sheckley's long-running themes were found in PoBB -- humor, abrupt literary transitions, malfunctioning computers, and philosophical digressions -- but calling the implementation of those recurring thematic elements in PoBB "pale echos of... the remembered sparkle" generated by Scheckley's previous works. [1] George Mann characterized Sheckley's overall work as "witty satirical fiction... comic and thought-provoking [science fiction]" and had earlier mentioned PoBB as one of Sheckley's late-period works.[2] The book was also reviewed in several zines related to science fiction when it was first published in 1990.[3][4][5]

The book received 3.41 out of five stars at[p] Two customer-reviewers gave the book 4 out of 5 stars at Thriftbooks.[q] PoBB received 2.84 out of 5 stars at Library Thing.[r] Customers at rated the title 3.0 out of 5 stars, as of 2017.[s]


  1. ^ David Langford (October 1, 2002). Complete Critical Assembly: The Collected White Dwarf (And Gm, and Gmi) Sf Review Columns. Wildside Press LLC. p. 313. ISBN 9781587153303. ...Can one imagine a humorous collaboration between the raucous slapstick-merchant Harry Harrison and the whimsical, often spaced-out Robert Sheckley? No, not really, and from internal evidence Bill, the Galactic Hero on the Planet of Bottled Brains (VGSF 236pp...) is mostly the latter. Alas (and it is a genuine, heartfelt alas), Sheckley's best work was long ago. That [same sort of] hallucinated humour, those [same kind of] disorienting transitions, ornery computers and philosophical asides: this story [PoBB] offers pale echoes of them all but lacks the remembered sparkle....
  2. ^ George Mann (March 1, 2012). The Mammoth Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. Little, Brown Book Group. p. 160. ISBN 9781780337043. ...[Sheckley] has written a Bill, the Galactic Hero novel with Harry Harrison, as well as a ... Sheckley continues to produce [overall and in general rather than necessarily specific to the BtGH effort] his characteristically witty satirical fiction, reminding readers of a tradition of comic and thought-provoking SF that goes back to a time well before the advent of Discworlds and galactic hitch-hikers. ...Recommended further reading: Bill, the Galactic Hero (1965)... by Harry Harrison.... Bibliography (Selected) [lists 24 specific publication-years and 33 specific works]... 1954... Bill the Galactic Hero on the Planet of Bottled Brains (1990, with Harry Harrison) ... 1999 ....
  3. ^ Scott Winnett (May 1990). Charles N. Brown (ed.). "[review of] Bill, the Galactic Hero on The Planet of Bottled Brains". Locus #352. Vol. 24, no. 5. Locus Publications.
  4. ^ Tom A. Jones (December 1990). Kev McVeigh; Boyd Parkinson; Paul Kincaid (eds.). "[review of] Bill, the Galactic Hero on The Planet of Bottled Brains". Vector. No. 158. BSFA.
  5. ^ Graham Andrews (August 1991). Andy Sawyer (ed.). "[review of] Bill, the Galactic Hero on The Planet of Bottled Brains". Paperback Inferno. No. 91. BSFA.


  1. ^ Listed as "volume 2" in this ref,[1] since it is the second novel in the 'on the planet of' portion of the overall story arc, immediately following Harrison's Bill the Galactic Hero On the Planet of Robot Slaves of 1989.
  2. ^ The 1990 novel is listed as either volume two because it follows the 1989 'on the planet of' novel by Harrison, or as number three counting the 1965 original eponymous novel by Harrison. There is also the 1964 short story which does not include the name of the series-protagonist in the title. The sources differ as to which early materials are part of the literary canon for the series with respect to enumeration, see other footnotes for details.
  3. ^ True regardless of whether or not this novel is considered as 'volume two' following Harrison's 1989 novel, or as 'number three' with the additional inclusion of Harrison's 1965 eponymous novel. The existence of Harrison's short story The Starsloggers which introduced Bill as a character but without using his name in the title, adds to the broader story-arc.
  4. ^ Harry Harrison, Robert Sheckley (January 1, 1990). Bill, the Galactic Hero on the Planet of Bottled Brains. Bill, the Galactic Hero #3. London: Gollancz. p. 249. ISBN 9780575047570.
  5. ^ Harry Harrison; Robert Sheckley (April 1990). Bill, the Galactic Hero, Vol. 2: On the Planet of Bottled Brains. Book #3 in the Bill, the Galactic Hero Series. illustrator Michael W. Kaluta. New York: Avon Books. p. 249. ISBN 9780380756629.
  6. ^ Harry Harrison, Robert Sheckley (January 1991). Bill, the Galactic Hero... on the Planet of Bottled Brains. Gollancz. p. 240. ISBN 9780575050044.
  7. ^ Harry Harrison, Robert Sheckley (June 1991). Bill, the Galactic Hero on the Planet of Bottled Brains. Bill, the Galactic Hero. VGSF. p. 236. ISBN 0575050047.
  8. ^ Robert Sheckley, Harry Harrison (Jul 5, 1999). Bill, the Galactic Hero on The Planet of Bottled Brains. Gollancz. p. 236. ISBN 9780575050044.
  9. ^ Robert Sheckley, Harry Harrison (2004). Bill, the Galactic Hero on The Planet of Bottled Brains. Gollancz. ISBN 9781857989076.
  10. ^ Robert Sheckley, Harry Harrison (Oct 15, 2012). Bill, the Galactic Hero on The Planet of Bottled Brains. Gateway/Orion. ISBN 9780575115521.
  11. ^ Harry Harrison [and Robert Scheckley] with narration by Christian Rummel (May 31, 2016). The Planet of Bottled Brains (Bill, the Galactic Hero Series). Audible Studios on Brilliance Audio. ISBN 9781522662525.
  12. ^ Die Welt der eßbaren Gehirne. Bill, der galaktische Held. Dritter Roman.ISBN 3453077679.[2]
  13. ^ Bill, Linnunradan sankari pullotettujen aivojen planeetalla. ISBN 9515782376.[3]
  14. ^ Bill, galaktický hrdina. Na planetě lahvových mozků, ISBN 808578257X.[4]
  15. ^ Paul Tomlinson, Harry Harrison (April 1, 2002). Harry Harrison: An Annotated Bibliography. Wildside Press LLC. p. 170. ISBN 9781587154010.
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^

External linksEdit

Bill, the Galactic Hero on the Planet of Bottled Brains title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database